PLUGandWORKTM helps you connect your legacy plant floor equipment into all the major Industrie 4.0 and Industrial Internet-of-Things players such as IBM Watson, GE PREDIX, Rockwell Automation, PTC Thing Worx and others. Today, the consistent implementation of Industrie 4.0 still often fails because older devices that do not yet have the necessary interfaces are still in use. In the worst case, the machines then work in isolation in the production hall.
The Fraunhofer PLUGandWORKTM solution eliminates the need for complicated configuration and setup when a system is integrated manually into production. This process may take several days or even weeks, and PLUGandWORKTM is often finished after a few hours.
Maximum transparency, compatibility and data security
Use of a cube or gateway PC not only frees individual machines from their isolation. It offers a further, decisive advantage: “Data from the connected machines can also be stored on the PLUGandWORKTM Cube”, explains Sauer. “The employees in plant management always see what is happening on the machine and immediately recognize any problems occurring. In this way, transparency prevails in the production hall.”
The server in the cube uses the OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) communication protocol and therefore adopts an internationally accepted standard that ensures the greatest possible compatibility in machine-to-machine communication. Data security is also ensured: All data is transmitted in encrypted form, and only authorized devices can connect with the system. In the process, industrial partners such as Wibu Systems AG from Karlsruhe contribute their expertise to the field of safety technology.
Depending on the complexity of the machine data and parameters, up to twenty machines can be connected to a single cube. The retrofit technology is by no means only designed for large manufacturers, such as from the automotive sector. “Even medium-sized companies with only twenty machines can integrate them into the production control,” says Fraunhofer expert Sauer. System integrators that create complete systems and pass them on to their customers ready for use also benefit from the cube.
Cooperation with industry standards
For many years, the IOSB has been working on digital technologies that make companies fit for Industrie 4.0. The experts develop the necessary standardized interfaces, software modules and data transmission protocols. In addition, the Fraunhofer experts, together with national and international partners, actively participate in the further development of AutomationML and are involved in various standardization committees.